Misconceptions Regarding Keiko’s Rehab

This is a response to Keiko Fans regarding some misconceptions about Keiko’s rehabilitation effort.  Commonly held understandings of what happened with Keiko after he left the Oregon Coast Aquarium are all too often based on false reports about what actually happened after this historic rehabilitation and reintroduction effort.

These misconceptions are why we undertook to tell the untold story of what actually happened with Keiko once he went to Iceland. We invite you to watch this important film and engage in an open discussion of Keiko’s life before and after captivity. If you have friends in LA please invite them to the world premiere screening of the film on August 17th, 2013.

All too often, Keiko’s release from captivity has been cited by the media and the marine park captive industry as a failed project, and given as the reason other captive orcas should not be released.

Misunderstandings about Keiko’s behavior in the wild and factual errors regarding his reintroduction effort back into the wild abound.

Media coverage to the effect that Keiko was attacked and killed by wild orcas, that Keiko was constantly supervised and fed and never was self-sufficient in the wild, and that Keiko lived less than a year after being freed, and more, are all incorrect.

Visually and through firsthand accounts of those directly in charge of Keiko’s care, Keiko The Untold Story of the Star of Free Willy documents how Keiko thrived in his post-captivity period for more than five years, mixed it up with wild orcas, and became the second longest lived male captive orca in history.

  • During his rehabilitation process, Keiko became the most well-traveled orca in the world.
  • Keiko became the largest package the UPS ever delivered.
  • Keiko gained over 3000 lbs. during his rehabilitation at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
  • Keiko was airlifted back home to Iceland by an Air Force Cargo Plane.
  • Keiko became the only captive orca ever to be successfully rehabilitated and released back to his home waters in the North Atlantic, where he thrived for 5 years prior to his death.
  • Keikos ordeal was the catalyst to Iceland permanently banning all orca captures, and the ban continues to this day.
  • Keiko inspired millions of children to get involved in following his amazing odyssey and helping other whales.
  • Keiko’s journey inspired a massive educational effort around the world and formed the basis for several scientific studies.
  • New generations of children continue to watch Keiko’s movie Free Willy and become inspired by the whale who played the star orca character “Willy”.
  • Keiko’s life story is being taught in schools around the world.

Keiko’s beloved fans have the ability to change the world!

Come join us in Hollywood on August 17!

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Nowhere in recent history has a captive mammal garnered so much attention as Keiko, the orca star of the 1993 hit film, “Free Willy.” The film’s success, partnered with growing public interest in animals held in captivity, launched a children’s crusade that called for Keiko’s release into the wild. The result: a multimillion-dollar project that spanned four countries, weathered endless controversy and lasted nearly a decade. Through first-hand accounts by the marine mammal experts charged with his care, “Keiko The Untold Story” follows Keiko, his life, his legacy of hope, and the untold story of his extraordinary years in Iceland and Norway.